President Bush was out talking up the march of freedom again and this time he’s handed down a deadline for the Syrians to get out of Lebanon:
All Syrian military forces and intelligence personnel must withdraw before the Lebanese elections for those elections to be free and fair,” Bush said. He said the elections, which are due to be held by the end of May, must be monitored by international observers.
Any who doubt the appeal of freedom in the Middle East can look to Lebanon, where the Lebanese people are demanding a free and independent nation.
Yes, freedom is good. Yes, Syria getting out of Lebanon would be a good thing.
But is the best way to move things in the right direction to make vocal demands? In this case, is Bush helping or hurting the cause that he celebrates?
Heeding a call made by Hezbollah, about 500,000 protestors hit the streets of Beirut to protest “in favor” of Syria’s role in Lebanon. The fuel for the fire? Anti-American slogans.
The question here is not whether or not Bush is right to push for freedom. The question is whether or not American deadlines and cowboy speeches help or hurt the cause of the Lebanese people who are trying to get Syria out. It is, after all, their cause stirred more by events on the ground in Lebanon than by speeches on the airwaves in D.C.
If history is going your way, sometime it’s better to go ahead and let it roll. (Even if that means you can’t take all the credit in the short term.)